The Drosophila homologue of the hereditary spastic paraplegia protein, spastin, severs and disassembles microtubules. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs), a group of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by lower-extremity spasticity and weakness, are most commonly caused by mutations in the spastin gene, which encodes a AAA+ ATPase related to the microtubule-severing protein katanin. A Drosophila homolog of spastin (D-spastin) was identified recently, and D-spastin RNAi-treated or genetic null flies show neurological defects, and protein overexpression decreases the density of cellular microtubules. Elucidating spastin's function and disease mechanism will require a more detailed understanding of its structure and biochemical mechanism. Here, we have investigated the effects of D-spastin, individual D-spastin domains, and D-spastin proteins bearing disease mutations on microtubules in cellular and in vitro assays. We show that D-spastin, like katanin, displays ATPase activity and uses energy from ATP hydrolysis to sever and disassemble microtubules; disease mutations abolish or partially interfere with these activities.

publication date

  • April 12, 2005